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Ioannes Paulus PP. II
Dominum et vivificantem

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  • PART III - THE SPIRIT WHO GIVES LIFE
    • 2. Reason for the Jubilee: Grace Has Been Made Manifest
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2. Reason for the Jubilee: Grace Has Been Made Manifest

 

52. In the mystery of the Incarnation the work of the Spirit "who gives life" reaches its highest point. It is not possible to give life, which in its fullest form is in God, except by making it the life of a Man, as Christ is in his humanity endowed with personhood by the Word in the hypostatic union. And at the same time, with the mystery of the Incarnation there opens in a new way the source of this divine life in the history of mankind: the Holy Spirit. The Word, "the first-born of all creation," becomes "the first-born of many brethren."210 And thus he also becomes the head of the Body which is the Church, which will be born on the Cross and revealed on the day of Pentecost - and in the Church, he becomes the head of humanity: of the people of every nation, every race, every country and culture, every language and continent, all called to salvation. "The Word became flesh, (that Word in whom) was life and the life was the light of men...to all who received him he gave the power to become the children of God."211 But all this was accomplished and is unceasingly accomplished "by the power of the Holy Spirit."

For as St. Paul teaches, "all who are led by the Spirit of God" are "children of God."212 The filiation of divine adoption is born in man on the basis of the mystery of the Incarnation, therefore through Christ the eternal Son. But the birth, or rebirth. happens when God the Father "sends the Spirit of his Son into our hearts."213 Then "we receive a spirit of adopted sons by which we cry 'Abba, Father!'"214 Hence the divine filiation planted in the human soul through sanctifying grace is the work of the Holy Spirit. "It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ."215 Sanctifying grace is the principle and source of man's new life: divine, supernatural life

The giving of this new life is as it were God's definitive answer to the Psalmist's words, which in a way echo the voice of all creatures: "When you send forth your Spirit, they shall be created; and you shall renew the face of the earth."216 He who in the mystery of creation gives life to man and the cosmos in its many different forms, visible and invisible, again renews this life through the mystery of the Incarnation. Creation is thus completed by the Incarnation and since that moment is permeated by the powers of the Redemption, powers which fill humanity and all creation. This is what we are told by St. Paul, whose cosmic and theological vision seems to repeat the words of the ancient Psalm: creation "waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God,"217 that is, those whom God has "foreknown" and whom he "has predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son."218 Thus there is a supernatural "adoption," of which the source is the Holy Spirit, love and gift. As such he is given to man. And in the superabundance of the uncreated gift there begins in the heart of all human beings that particular created gift whereby they "become partakers of the divine nature."219 Thus human life becomes permeated, through participation, by the divine life, and itself acquires a divine, supernatural dimension. There is granted the new life, in which as a sharer in the mystery of Incarnation "man has access to the Father in the Holy Spirit."220 Thus there is a close relationship between the Spirit who gives life and sanctifying grace and the manifold supernatural vitality which derives from it in man: between the uncreated Spirit and the created human spirit.

 

53. All this may be said to fall within the scope of the great Jubilee mentioned above. For we must go beyond the historical dimension of the event considered in its surface value. Through the Christological content of the event we have to reach the pneumatological dimension, seeing with the eyes of faith the two thousand years of the action of the Spirit of truth, who down the centuries has drawn from the treasures of the Redemption achieved by Christ and given new life to human beings, bringing about in them adoption in the only-begotten Son, sanctifying them, so that they can repeat with St. Paul: "We have received ...the Spirit which is from God."221

But as we follow this reason for the Jubilee, we cannot limit ourselves to the two thousand years which have passed since the birth of Christ. We need to go further back, to embrace the whole of the action of the Holy Spirit even before Christ - from the beginning, throughout the world, and especially in the economy of the Old Covenant. For this action has been exercised, in every place and at every time, indeed in every individual, according to the eternal plan of salvation, whereby this action was to be closely linked with the mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption, which in its turn exercised its influence on those who believed in the future coming of Christ. This is attested to especially in the Letter to the Ephesians.222 Grace, therefore, bears within iitself both a Christological aspect and a pneumatological one, which becomes evident above all in those who expressly accept Christ: "In him [in Christ] you...were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance, until we acquire possession of it."223

But, still within the perspective of the great Jubilee, we need to look further and go further afield, knowing that "the wind blows where it wills," according to the image used by Jesus in his conversation with Nicodemus.224 The Second Vatican Council, centered primarily on the theme of the Church, reminds us of the Holy Spirit's activity also "outside the visible body of the Church." The council speaks precisely of "all people of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way. For, since Christ died for all, and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this Paschal Mystery."225

 

54. "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."226 These words were spoken by Jesus in another conversation, the one with the Samaritan woman. The great Jubilee to be celebrated at the end of this Millennium and at the beginning of the next ought to constitute a powerful call to all those who "worship God in spirit and truth." It should be for everyone a special occasion for meditating on the mystery of the Triune God, who in himself is wholly transcendent with regard to the world, especially the visible world. For he is absolute Spirit, "God is spirit"227; and also, in such a marvelous way, he is not only close to this world but present in it, and in a sense immanent, penetrating it and giving it life from within. This is especially true in relation to man: God is present in the intimacy of man's being, in his mind, conscience and heart: an ontological and psychological reality, in considering which St. Augustine said of God that he was "closer than my inmost being."228 These words help us to understand better the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman: "God is spirit." Only the Spirit can be "closer than my spiritual experience. Only the spirit can be so permanent in man and in the world, while remaining inviolable and immutable in his absolute transcendence.

But in Jesus Christ the divine presence in the world and in man has been made manifest in a new way and in visible form. In him "the grace of God has appeared indeed."229 The love of God the Father, as a gift, infinite grace, source of life, has been made visible in Christ, and in his humanity that love has become "part" of the universe, the human family and history. This appearing of grace in human history, through Jesus Christ, has been accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit, who is the source of all God's salvific activity in the world: he, the "hidden God,"230 who as love and gift "fills the universe."231 The Church's entire life, as will appear in the great Jubilee, means going to meet the invisible God, the hidden God: a meeting with the Spirit "who gives life."

 




210. Rom 8:29.



211. Cf. Jn 1:14, 4,12f.



212. Cf. Rom 8:14.



213. Cf. Gal 4:6; Rom 5:5; 2 Cor 1:22.



214. Rom 8:15.



215. Rom 8:16f.



216. Cf. Ps 104/103:30.



217. Rom 8:19.



218. Rom 8:29.



219. Cf. 2 Pet 1:4.



220. Cf. Eph 2:18; Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, n. 2.



221. Cf. 1 Cor 2:12.



222. Cf. Eph 1:3-14.



223. Eph 1:13f.



224. Cf. Jn 3:8.



225. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, n. 22; cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, n. 16.



226. Jn 4:24.



227. Ibid.



228. Cf. St. Augustine, Confess., III, 6, 11: CCL 27, 33.



229. Cf. Tit 2:11.



230. Cf. Is 45:15.



231. Cf. Wis 1:7.






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